Enjoy a Virtual 360 tour guide of Koh Lanta where you can kick back and relax on Thailand’s colourful, chilled-out island. Free of any big hotels or neon lights, it’s a rare unspoilt beauty with a hint of hippy.
On our way back we decided to find the waterfall, there is a dirt track that takes you halfway there, but then you’ll have to park up your ped and walk the rest of the way. The walk is teaming with wildlife, we even saw a snake slithering its way along the path. When we finally reached the waterfall it was a little underwhelming. We hadn’t considered the dry season and unfortunately it was more of a trickle than the waterfall we imagined.
We stopped off at Bakantiang Beach which strangely had a random blow up snowman waving around in the breeze right in the middle of the beach. There’s a great bar here named Same Same but Different where you can sit and chill with a drink. We stayed until it was time to get back before dark. We didn’t want to be riding the peds in the dark as the the roads aren’t lit and the bike lights weren’t the best it would’ve been like riding blind and it wasn’t worth the risk of an accident. We did pass an Elephant at one point and we stopped to see it had been chained up which was sad to see. They offer Elephant treks, but that’s not something i’m interested in. I have done bathing with the elephants in Chiang Mai which was amazing.
If you like diving there are some fantastic places here with incredible visibility, underwater pinnacles, coral outcrops and masses of marine life. Ko Haa, which is an hour and a half out, is a collapsed volcanic island with steep drop-offs to the side and more than a dozen dive sites, caverns and chambers where you’ll see turtles, octopus and pointy-nosed barracuda. You don’t have to arrange a dive through your hotel as there are dive shops in almost every village and they are usually cheaper and just as good. If scuba isn’t your thing, there’s brilliant fishing, amazing snorkelling, sea kayaking to the limestone caves at Koh Talabeng and longtail boat trips to the gnarled mangroves around Koh Klang and Koh Lanta Noi.
There are full-moon parties, half-moon parties etc, but they are all on the small scale. It’s just an excuse to string up the paper lanterns and call in a local band that do great renditions of Oasis. The island offers an appealing escape from the highly popular tourist destinations like Phuket and Phi Phi. If you want to party then this won’t be for you, no one comes here for that, you’ll want to go to Phuket or Samui. Lanta is not cutting-edge, it’s not cool. It’s at ease in its own skin.
We stayed in a hostel on long beach. However we made a mistake when booking the hostel, it’s true when they say you get what you pay for. We stayed at Funky Fish, it was only $3 a night, that’s a steal! It was basically a cow shed with 5 wooden bunk beds, the thinnest mattress ever and four conventional fans in each corner of the room. The showers were didn’t work or they dripped water. We ended up washing by going for a swim in the sea. There was no real surprise that we were the only ones staying there. We cut short our stay by a day and only stayed 2 nights before moving on to Krabi. The Funky Fish Beach bar was surprisingly good though and we had a good meal there as we did at the Somewhere Else bar next door.
Koh Lanta is about 25 kilometres long by 3 kilometres wide with a mountain range through the middle and actually an archipelago made up of 52 islands. Some of the islands are small and uninhabited, and some have only one, or very few accommodation options for tourists.
- The district was established in December 1901. The name of the island was officially changed to Lanta in 1917.
- The main islands are Koh Lanta Yai (big island) and Koh Lanta Noi (small island) which are connected to each other by a bridge.
- Mu Ko Lanta National Park, established in 1990 as the 62nd national park of Thailand, occupies 134 km of the district.
- The island was only hooked up to mains electricity in 1996.
- Chao-le (sea gypsies) inhabit Ko Lanta and follow a lifestyle that has been relatively unaffected by the islands tourism.
It is believed that the area was one of the oldest communities in Thailand, dating back to the prehistoric period.
All Koh Lanta’s beaches are on the west coast so most visitors stay in one of the beach villages here. You’ll find that even the most expensive places will only be $20 a night. We stayed in a hostel on long beach. However we made a mistake when booking the hostel, it’s true when they say you get what you pay for. We stayed at Funky Fish Hostel, it was only $3 a night. It was basically a cow shed with 5 wooden bunk beds, the thinnest mattresses ever and four conventional fans in each corner of the room with a temperature of 32ºc at night 🥵. The showers didn’t work either, they just dripped water. We ended up washing by going for a swim in the sea. No surprise that we were the only ones there. We cut short our stay by a day and only stayed 2 nights before moving on to Krabi. I’d recommend paying that little extra and find somewhere with aircon and a shower.
Most of the best restaurants on Koh Lanta are on the western side of the island and we generally found the quality better on the road rather than on the beach. Also most places have vegetarian options.
Koh Lanta is a very chilled out and relaxing island and the best thing to do is to Do Nothing!
- Butterfly Farm
- Cooking Schools
- Emerald Cave
- Explore Lanta Old Town And The East Coast
- Four Island Tours By Speedboat Or Longtail Boat
- Golf Driving Range
- Hire a moped
- Kantiang beach
- Kayaking (hire a kayak for 500 THB for three hours)
- Khao Mai Kaew Cave Tour (300 THB)
- Khlong Chak Bat Cave
- Lanta Animal Welfare (volunteer with Koh Lanta dogs and cats)
- Moo Ko Lanta National Park
- Paddle Boards, Windsurfing And Sailing
- Scuba Diving
- Sunset Viewpoint
- Thai Massage
- Trash Hero Lanta, (Every Sunday, head to Long Beach to clean up the plastic waste and other garbage)
- Banana House (Old Town)
- Funky Fish Bar
- Same Same But Different
- Somewhere Else
- Why Not bar
Flatter than surrounding islands and with reasonable roads that run 22km from north to south, Lanta is easily toured on a motorbike. Make sure your travel insurance covers you before hiring a ped. You will probably be asked to show your passport. Find out more about hiring a moped here. Just keep an eye out for potholes!
- Bicycle (150B per day).
- Moped, can be rented everywhere (250B per day without insurance)
It’s easy to get to Koh Lanta, the island is accessible by speedboat, minivan and ferry. Choose which option suits you best. We took the ferry from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta and then jumped into the back of a pick up truck that took us to the hostel.
- Air, There is no airport on the island itself – the nearest airport is Krabi Airport. There are connections from Phuket Airport and Trang Airport too, although the travel times will be considerably longer.
- Ferry, From Phi Phi it will take around an hour. From Krabi you can take the ferry or shared minibus (350 baht) to Koh Lanta. Both take about two hours (longer if you are staying in the far south of the island). Be advised: Thai ferries run on “Thai time” – punctuality is not their strong point.
- If you eat the street food like the locals, you’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than 200 THB a day on food (maybe not even that).
- Negotiate with long-tail boat drivers.
- Get a group together and charter a longtail boat. Split between four or more people, it should be cheaper than an organized tour.
- Haggle in the markets, especially if buying in bulk.
- If you’re on a budget, Ham & Cheese Toasties from 7-11 are a great, cheap & quick meal.
- Beers and drinks are heavily discounted when purchased at 7-Eleven. Purchase a few beers before you go out to the bars and cut your night’s budget by a lot.
- If you travel during May through October, you will be missing the peak season, and save quite a bit, even though you might catch some rain.
The dry season is from November-April and corresponds with the tourist high season. May-October is the rainy season with south-westerly breezes bringing rain in between the sunshine. Statistically, the highest chance of rain is during June and September (80% chance) with the lowest chance from November-March (5% chance).
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Have you been to Koh Lanta? What was your favourite thing to see or do? Would you recommend it?
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